The Second Reformation


It is no longer a question if there will be a second reformation in Christianity.  There can be no doubt about it:  a second reformation is already well underway.  But unlike the first reformation, spearheaded by the likes of John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Eurich Zwingli, and Menno Simmons, tracing this reformation to specific historical leaders is a difficult, if not impossible task for the historian to undertake.  And while one could perhaps examine the movements that have influenced this reformation, such as the Pentecostal and Charismatic renewal movements, the underground Church in China, and the like, I believe this reformation would best be likened unto three specks of leaven hidden in a loaf of bread.  It has been a largely unseen movement, but over time, has slowly but surely begun to leaven the whole lump, as it grows every single day.

Why does this second reformation lack much in the way of any visible leadership?  Because this second reformation is concerned with only making one leader visible, and that leader would be Jesus Christ.  For Jesus Christ is the leader of the second reformation.  That’s not to say that there haven’t been and aren’t other leaders in this movement.  For undoubtedly, there certainly have been and are.  But they prefer to go unnamed, unseen, and uncelebrated, for while being like glorious stars in the sky, because of the surpasing  glory of the Sun, discerning their presence becomes difficult at best.  For the philosophy of these leaders has always been, “He must increase, while I must decrease.”  And the more they decrease in visibility, the greater His influence, and the more He becomes seen.

Like the rising of the sun, as with the nature of all reformation, such does not happen instantly, or with one giant blow.   Rather, it happens gracefully, gradually, incrementally, and smoothly, until the sun fully rises, or as in the other analogy, until the leaven consumes the entire lump.  Over time, the present ecclesiastical system that is undergoing reformation will simply collapse upon itself, as an unsustainable model that will be counted as but a forsaken relic of the past.  For His people who have become holy discontent with the present order, who deeply hunger for the fullness of the presence of Christ in the Church, with Him operating unhindered as its true head, will simply find no reason to carry on with the way we’ve operated for centuries, laboring largely in the dark.  For their eyes will be opened to the glory that rises out of the eastern sky, and once seen, they will no longer desire what they knew in the night.

We aren’t there yet.  Many of our brethren, are still living in a place where much darkness abounds.  The reformation is not yet complete.  Be patient.  Don’t attempt to do for the Lord what the Lord is doing in His own timing.  Continue to just wait on Him, and let Him arise.  Teach, exhort, and rebuke much.  But pray even more.  Don’t try to force anything, or to try and take some imaginary shortcut to the reformation.  For if you do that, you will find yourself in a battle without the Lord.  Walk with the Lord in what you do, and love the brethren even as the Lord loves them.  Abound in forgiveness and major in mercy.  For that is how Christ has behaved towards us, so let us have the same attitude towards our brethren who have yet to have their eyes opened to the truths we’ve come to know. 

Don’t forsake assembling yourself together with them, and fellowshipping with them, but rather, spend all the more time with them.  Even if they resist you, and find themselves at odds with you.  Share with them the same fragrance you have smelled.  Lead them to the same waters you have been drinking from.  Model for them what you have come to know.  Be an example to them in all things.  If they slap you on one cheek, offer them the other.  If they curse you, bless them in return.  Don’t pull back from them in pride, but like our Lord, forget yourself, and truly become a servant to them in all things.

For ultimately, the only way for the second reformation to prosper is that it be a movement that doesn’t make much about itself, and what is going on.  Rather, the second reformation will prosper because it makes itself much about Christ, and speaks often of Him.

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